Aquino: 'Nothing can make the Filipino spirit yield'

MANILA, Philippines - Amid the devastating aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, President Benigno Aquino III found reason to be grateful.

In a statement released on Wednesday, November 13, Aquino expressed his gratitude for the support of Filipinos locally and overseas.

"In the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) there are many reasons to grieve. Over the past few days, however, the Filipino people have seen many reasons to be grateful as well. Filipinos at home and abroad have, once more, come together to render aid and assistance to hard-hit areas," he said.

"The well of strength and compassion that characterizes us as a nation has time and again proven to be bottomless. Solidarity born of faith and prayer, combined with a steadfast resolve, is showing the world that nothing can make the Filipino spirit yield," he said.

Aquino shared his sentiments 5 days after one of the world's strongest storms, Super Typhoon Yolanda, battered central Philippines leaving widespread destruction at its wake.

Desperate survivors are scrambling for aid in what the government describes as its biggest relief operations yet – a challenge for the national government that has been rendered helpless by the breakdown of communication lines and local government units. (READ: Tormented typhoon victims scour for food)

As of Wednesday, Aquino said the death toll was somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500. The government has said it can tap up to P28.64 billion worth of funds for relief efforts. 

'God will continue to guide us'

Aquino also expressed his thanks for the massive international aid that has poured into the country following the super typhoon. At least 28 countries have pledged assistance or given support, while other international foundations have provided aid as well.

"The thought that the community of nations stands in solidarity with our nation has also greatly eased our burdens. On behalf of the Filipino people, I thank the governments and peoples of so many nations… who have pledged or already provided assistance, whether technical, financial, or in kind, for the relief and rebuilding efforts that we are undertaking in Leyte, Samar, and other provinces devastated by Haiyan," he said.

Earlier, the government promised to account for every donation made by other countries. As of Tuesday, the amount of international donations was at P2.34 billion.

The President also welcomed the efforts of private companies that have made sizable donations and given free services.

"I also reiterate my gratitude to every Filipino who has extended help to his countrymen in their time of need. The companies who have offered their services for free or at a great discount, the groups and institutions who have mobilized their members for relief drives, individuals who have volunteered time, knowledge, and resources: You have my deepest thanks," he said.

Aquino then touched on religion and faith – relied on by many in the predominantly Catholic Philippines.

"The Almighty has granted us the resilience to withstand such tragedies, secure in our belief that God will continue to guide us as we provide care for our countrymen, rebuild our nation, and prepare for the future," he said. - Rappler.com

Get the latest info on the status of areas (http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/issues/disasters/typhoon-yolanda/43350-aftermath-yolanda-what-we-know) affected by typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan).

Help the victims of Yolanda. Visit Rappler's list of ongoing relief operations (http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/issues/disasters/43300-reliefph-victims-typhoon-yolanda-help) in your area. Tell us about your relief and recovery initiatives, email move.ph@rappler.com or tweet us @moveph.